How Long Will My New Athletic Running Track Last

Written by Bill Narozanick / Published in Running Tracks, Track Installation

New Running Track Curving to the Left
I’m often asked what the lifespan of a running track is? Most people who ask this question really only consider the synthetic surface, but there are other more important key components to consider when estimating the maximum running track longevity and overlooking them will severely compromise your investment.How Long Will My New Athletic Running Track Last? Here are 4 variables that will greatly affect the lifespan question:

1. Meets all 4 Critical Components = Will last 20‐30 years.

If the substructure, that is the drainage, stone‐base and laser‐controlled asphalt, is properly designed and constructed and a high-quality sealed polyurethane synthetic surface is properly installed, an athletic running track can last for 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance and resurfacing.

2. Quality Surface + Poor Substructure = FAILURE

If the substructure has been designed and/or constructed poorly, no matter how high quality the surface you choose or how well it is installed, the athletic running track will fail prematurely‐ possibly in the first few years, resulting in cracking, settling, bubbling, or worse.

3. Quality Substructure + Poor Surface = FAILURE

If the running track surface has been poorly installed but the substructure has been designed and constructed well, the track surface will fail prematurely and possibly as soon as the first few years.

4. Maximizing Running Track Longevity

The key point fundamental to maximizing the running track longevity is ensuring that the substructure be properly designed and constructed and a high‐end, sealed polyurethane system must be installed properly.

5. Other variables to consider

Other variables that come into play are climate, maintenance practices of the school, UV degradation, freeze‐thaw cycles, and poor quality construction, all of which will greatly reduce the longevity of a running track to a few years before problems arise. If well built, running track longevity could be 2‐3 decades with timely, proper maintenance, and resurfacing.

Running Track Starting to Wear Out

If the infrastructure is built well, the track surface chosen will have a large impact on how long that component lasts. An unsophisticated system but well‐constructed latex track versus a well‐constructed high‐end polyurethane track could have a running track longevity differential of 10‐20 years with maintenance and resurfacing. It is truly imperative to find an experienced athletic running track designer who writes a strong spec that will be followed and installed by an experienced and specialized athletic facility builder that offers a quality warranty for maximum running track longevity. This could mean the difference of your running track lasting from 1 year to 20+ years.

Q: Do you know who built your running track? Do you know what type of surface your running track has? Do you know how long your track has lasted and performed properly and safely? Have you noticed cracking or bubbling of the surface? We would like to see any photo you may have of a problem area. Please contact Bill Narozanick with any questions or comments you may have.

Please remember to consult with an American Sports Builder’s Association Certified Track Builder to ensure that a qualified, experienced track facility builder will be a good fit for the construction of your facility. For a free, no obligation on‐site inspection or consultation, contact American Athletic Track and Turf, we have many helpful tools to get you started on any size project.
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